Project Healing Waters Visits Penn's Creek

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PWHFF) is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education as well as outings.

Eight injured and disabled, devoted veterans from the Batavia and Buffalo, NY, VAMC’s recently visited Kaarondinhah’s Camp Guttalata for four nights and five days of fly fishing in mid October.  Participants from the Army included Joe Dingy, Bill Kelman and Tom Terny.  Representing the Marine Corp were Lee (last name withheld due to military reasons), David Bollman, Paul Campbell, Roberto Cazares (pictured above) and Bill Durys.  These veterans served our country valiantly in the Vietnam and Iraq Wars.    

The bulk of the fly fishing occurred on the pristine pools and pocket waters of Penn’s Creek in the Special Regulation Water, an extraordinary fishery!

The PA Fish Commission enthusiastically supported this effort by allowing access to the research center in the heart of this “walk-in only” section of Penn’s Creek which provided easier access to this rugged river for those participants that needed it.  A generous land owner also donated access to his private water in Penn’s Valley for these worthy warriors.  This smaller spring stream provided extremely accessible water and yielded trophy trout fishing for every warrior.

Dave McMullen of Spruce Creek, PA was immeasurably instrumental in coordinating this event and was the key to its success.  Dave made the arrangements with the PA Fish Commission, gathered many of his well experienced friends who are professional guides to assist each warrior individually as well as spent one-on-one time with them himself.

Dave also contacted his friend Joe Humphreys, a well renowned fly fisherman and author of many books on fly fishing.  Being a veteran of the Navy, Joe was, as usual, very eager to once again participate in sharing his knowledge with devoted patriots.  Joe spent two full days with them sharing his knowledge and schooling them in basic to advanced fly fishing techniques of this special art and science.  What an extra special surprise Joe was for these commendable men who thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. 

Dave and Joe have helped out with PHWFF events at Camp Guttalata and other locations many times in the past.  The local, professional Penn’s Creek guides that ardently gave their time to helping make this event a success included Brad Frankhouser, Bob Bizak, Mark Antolosky, Tom Dolman and Larry Winey.

Special thanks also needs made to members of the Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter who provided their assistance in guiding the first full day.  They drove two hours each way to show their appreciation for men who have sacrificed so much for us.  CVTU members that provided assistance included Tom Houf, Tom Brennan, Chet Hagenbarth, Don Albright, Ken Okorn and Bob Thompson.

All of the “Brothers in Arms” who attended this event thoroughly enjoyed themselves and learned a wealth of fly fishing knowledge.  The camaraderie amongst these warriors is a special bond to witness.  Some of the comments from them included “This was the best trip I have ever had” and “I learned more about fly fishing on this trip than I have at any other event I attended”.   

This was not the first time visiting Camp Guttalata for some of these PHWFF participants.  Events have been held at Camp Guttalata in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  High water prevented holding the event in 2011 despite two attempts. 

PHWFF was started in 2005.  While initially focusing on the military personnel in the Washington, DC area, the Project has expanded nationwide and is offering its services and program to injured active military personnel and disabled veterans in Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout the country.

You can show your appreciation for our service members and veterans by visiting their website, www.projecthealingwaters.org and contributing to this worthy cause.

Kaarondinhah’s Camp Guttalata is a recreational property owned and operated by Mark and Andrea Campbell.  They are honored to provide their facility to PHWFF.  

Camp Guttalata is available for rental to the public for family vacations, couples retreats and outdoor enthusiasts.  Mountain biking, kayaking and fly fishing are among the many activities to be enjoyed at Camp Guttalata.  Information about Camp Guttalata can be obtained by visiting www.pennscreekcabin.com.  Contact can be made by emailing mark@pennscreekcabin.com.  

- Mark L. Campbell III